Reading Children’s Book Group

Reading Children’s Book Group (known locally as Getting Reading Reading or GRR) has members across Reading and the surrounding area. If you live in the RG postcode area contact Jackie Bishop at to find out more about becoming a member of our group.

We have both school and family members. We organise lots of book-related activities locally and also we are really lucky to be one of the 12 FCBG groups that “tests” books for the Children’s Book Award. We receive hundreds of new books every year and many of our members help us to read them all. Some lucky children even go to the awards ceremony each year.

Upcoming Events:

Reading Children’s Book Group for 8-12s meets at Reading Central Library. We are currently reviewing our programme. Keep an eye on this page or Twitter @GrrChris for announcements about future dates, times and themes.

SLA Unconference – 23rd March

The SLA Unconference is taking place at St George’s School in Ascot. GRR will be holding a book sale at the unconference, so if you’re booked to attend please don’t forget to bring along some money to purchase some fantastic books at astounding prices. Attendance is free and open to SLA members and non-members. Details are on the Unconference Facebook page.

How it Works Exhibit at Reading Museum – 18th May from 10am -12pm 

GRR and Reading Museum will be jointly running an event as part of the How it Works Exhibit, which is running from 30th March to 17th August. We will be making Origami Ladybird bookmarks and printed paper in half hour sessions which will be run jointly with the museum.

Reading Fringe Festival – 20th July times TBC 

This year’s Reading Fringe Festival theme is ‘Into The Woods’. As part of the fringe festival there will be a Wild Day run in conjunction with Nature-Nurture, jam packed with wood-y events. GRR will be running our Pop-Up Reading Zone, where we will be testing books for the Children’s Book Awards (with a voting box on-hand!), reading topical books, and making stick men!

Wild About Reading Family Picnic (with MERL) – 2nd August 

On 2nd August we will be working with MERL again for their Family Picnic. Details to follow.

Recent Events:

Getting Reading Reading CBG at The Museum of English Rural Life
From April to July 2018 we had an exhibition celebrating 50 years of the FCBG. We featured CBA-winning books relevant to rural life and chose artifacts from the museum and books from the Reading university collection to complement these. We also designed a trail to take children from the exhibition through the museum. Alongside this we also had a display case featuring the poems written during the poetry workshop.

We put on three events in association with the exhibition. We had a lovely launch event, featuring a chicken-related quiz hosted by the lovely Jo Cotterill, and another evening event for adults with Prue Goodwin, who took rabbits in literature as her theme. We also took our “reading zone” to the museum’s Spring Chickens Family Day.

The March 2018 session was led by the museum’s poet in residence Jack Thacker. After a tour of the museum and poetry readings, the group looked at objects connected with the theme of trees, and adults and children alike enjoyed writing poetry based on the objects.

In addition to the regular meetings of the Children’s Book Group at Reading Central Library, we have recently held two very enjoyable sessions at the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University. The first was in November 2017 to coincide with National Non-Fiction November. At the beginning of  the session we reviewed and voted for the books shortlisted for the School Library Association’s Information Book Award. The group then explored the museum collecting information about different topics of interest to share. This was followed by an object handling session led by Phillippa Heath (MERL), which inspired the group to write factual and creative labels for each object.

Story Day 2017:

We had a fabulous day with three story sessions, a book trail around the beautiful venue and Children’s Book Award testing.

Reading CBG’s library book group had great fun in January looking at funny books.

Download our schedule for the next few months here: YOC book group poster 2017


Getting Reading Reading Children’s Book Group was proud to support Reading’s Year of Culture in 2016. Each month we selected some books to fit in with the YOC themes and details. Booklists are below.

In October we were delighted to welcome Jim Kay talking about how he created the wonderful artwork for the first fully illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Reading held a highly successful Jean Russell Storytelling event in partnership with Aspire2 in Whitley, with the children from the New Christ Church School performing local stories to Whitley residents, young and old.

IMG_3139 For more information subscribe to our blog.

Here are details of our National Share-A-Story Month event:

Reading CBG celebrated NSSM at its monthly children’s book group session at Reading Central Library on 21st May. As the Reading Year of Culture theme for May is the history of Reading, the group looked at some local stories and local authors. Click here for the booklist.

Our next library group meetings are 18th June and 16th July. Scroll down for our monthly booklists created from each group meeting.

On 16th April we shared our favourite picture books and helped a local author create her new book. We also chose some of our favourite books at Conference and thinking ahead to next year’s conference here in Reading!

Here is our group sharing some of their favourite non-fiction.

Feb book group

Scroll down for news about our new LIBRARY BOOK GROUP and BOOKLISTS for January, February and March.


The theme for March was Shakespeare and March’s booklist is full of fun ways to learn about and celebrate our greatest playwright.

The theme for February is “Design for Reading” – for more details see

For February we’re suggesting some books on art and design for children and their parents/carers. You will be able to borrow them from your local library or buy them through your local bookshop. They are books that we have enjoyed or found useful and is not meant to be exhaustive – you may also have some great ideas for books that you would recommend to your friends. If you would like to share these, find us on Twitter @grrchris or email

February – “Design for Reading”

For January we’re encouraging children and their parents/carers to try something new. Here’s a list of books we think would be a good place to start finding out about some topics:

These are books that we have recently enjoyed or found useful and is not meant to be exhaustive – you may also have some great ideas for books that you would recommend to your friends. If you would like to share these, find us on Twitter @grrchris or email


We’re launching a new monthly children’s book group at Reading Central Library on Saturday 23rd January.


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Reading is celebrating a whole Year of Culture in 2016 and in January everyone is being encouraged to try something new – so we do hope lots of local children come and join in. At the first meeting we’ll be looking at the FCBG Children’s Book Award Top 10 and planning future meetings.

Some previous events

May 2015 – 10th Birthday Celebration: Dragons and other Imaginary Beasts:

An exciting all day event which included dragon making crafts, four author talks, a bookshop and cake! For a more detailed account of the event by one of our members visit:

Photos from 10th Birthday Celebration

February 2015

RHCBA ceremony
Children from the Dolphin School represented Reading CBG at the RHCBA winners ceremony. Here they are presenting an award to Tony Ross, winner of the Younger Readers category


Fed Ted held a treasure hunt – a Harry Potter themed quiz in Reading Central Library on National Libraries Day.


November 2014 – We celebrated non-fiction with Paul Dowswell at Leighton Park School.

October 2014 – We did an introduction to the Children’s Book Award Top Ten at Chapter One bookshop in Woodley

September 2014 – Another Charlie and the Chocolate Factory themed event for Roald Dahl Day at Woodley Library

August 2014 – Margaret Bateson-Hill events at Battle and Woodley libraries as part of the Summer Reading Challenge

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Contact: Jackie Bishop


Photos from Reading CBG’s 2014 National Share-a-Story Month events

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Members of Reading CBG donned Willy Wonka style top hats and waistcoats for the Roald Dahl themed drop in activity at Reading Central Library on Saturday 10th May. Tables were spread with a variety of activities, information about the Federation and chocolate cake (to celebrate the 50th birthday of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Even before the official start time, families started to arrive and before we knew it the library was heaving with 60 children plus their parents! As one of the events of the annual Children’s Festival, we were in the official programme and the inclement weather also worked in our favour. Children of all ages had a go at making ‘sweets that looked round’ and ‘luminous lollipops’, creating their own sweetie concoctions and entering a quiz about the author. Lots of interest in the group, smiley faces and full tummies – an unqualified success! Happy Birthday Charlie!

We are really lucky to be one of the 12 FCBG groups that “tests” books for the Children’s Book Award. We receive hundreds of new books every year and many of our members, both schools and families, help us to read them all. Some lucky children even go to the awards ceremony each year. Here is the 2012 winner Patrick Ness with our group.

RHCBA 2012 winner Patrick Ness with members of Reading CBG.

Since our founding in 2005 we have welcomed many authors and illustrators both in local schools and as community events. Our most recent visitor was Guy Bass, who entertained us during the Summer Reading Challenge.

Guy Bass meets Fed Ted

We also run regular activity sessions at Reading libraries. As part of our World Book Day celebrations this year, The Gruffalo dropped into Rhyme Time at the Central Library and for Dahl Day in September we helped children create BFG ears.

Contact: Jackie Bishop